Marvel’s Most Epic Asian American Superhero Team-Up Ever

by Phil Yu | Originally posted at Angry Asian Man

Ms. Marvel! Shang Chi! Silk! Amadeus Cho! Has there ever been such an awesome assemblage of Asian American superheroes under the banner of Marvel Comics? Possibly probably not… until now.

Writer Greg Pak recently teased the upcoming cover of Totally Awesome Hulk #15, suggesting that this is the most significant grouping of Asian American superheroes that has ever starred in a mainstream comic book.

In Totally Awesome Hulk #15, kid genius Amadeus Cho — aka The Hulk — is slowly learning how to become a team player, but has to learn fast when Ms. Marvel, Shang Chi, Silk and a host of other heroes come to town.

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Q&A with The OA’s Ian Alexander

by Jes Vu | Originally posted at Angry Asian Man

In a time where representation is such a hot topic in Hollywood, Netflix’s The OA does something few have done: cast an actual Asian transgender teenage boy as an Asian transgender teenage boy. Vietnamese-American teen Ian Alexander is one of multiple Asian actors in The OA’s main cast alongside Filipino/Puerto Rican-American Brandon Perea and British Pakistani Riz Ahmed (in a recurring role). Continuing the spotlight from his response to a viral anti-trans photo, Ian makes his on-screen acting debut as Buck Vu in the newly-released show having been cast from an online open casting call in 2015.

Growing up in places including Japan, Hawai’i, and D.C. have helped shape Ian. The fifteen-year-old high school junior has had more experiences than most teenagers his age, and his passion knows no bounds. He’s politically vocal, a huge admirer of actors and filmmakers like Jen Richards (Her Story) and Laverne Cox (Orange is the New Black) and relentless as a Marvel fanboy (he’s “Team Bucky” for those who are curious). Ian had time to sit down and talk about his upbringing and the show (don’t worry, there are no spoilers here).

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The Dark Knight Changed the Way I Watched Movies

by Benjamin To | Originally published at BANDtogether

In the summer of 2008, there I was: A fresh-faced, 19-year-old pharmacy school dropout, a few months removed from stepping off the plane from humble Oregon and on to hopeful California soil. I had no direction of where I was going or knowledge of how to accomplish my lofty goals, but I knew I wanted one thing and one thing only: I wanted to be a part of cinema.

One of my first — and one of my favorite — jobs was when I worked as a film projectionist at a local movie theater. It was one of those summer jobs that lasted well beyond the summer. Even though the pay was trash and I hated some of my managers, I had access to free movies that were actually projected on 35mm film (which is on the verge of becoming an extinct format). I made sure to watch everything I could get my hands on from big budget action blockbusters to independently produced prestige dramas. Since I didn’t have the money to go to a traditional film school like USC or UCLA, the movie theater became my film school.

Everything that I have absorbed about appreciating and deconstructing cinema up to that point came to a climatic crescendo in the form of a tiny little art house flick called The Dark Knight, and it altered my perception of sights and sounds, forever.

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What Artists Can Learn from the Trump v. Hamilton “Distraction”

by Timothy Yu

Mike Pence went to see Hamilton. He got booed. The actors read a statement from the stage. And our president-elect tweeted a demand that the cast apologize for their “harassment.” Just another day in the dawning Trump Era.

There was plenty to say. Some pointed out the irony of Donald Trump, scourge of political correctness, complaining that the theater should be a “safe place.” Others pointed to the chilling precedent of our incoming president demanding that artists apologize to an elected official. But what most surprised me was seeing some of my friends — many of whom are themselves artists, writers, literary scholars — repeating the argument that the Hamilton controversy was “just a distraction” from Trump’s other problems.

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Ghost in the Shell and the Complexity of Cultural Appropriation

by Trungles

There is an old fairy tale popularized by Hans Christian Andersen as The Little Mermaid. I’m one of those odd first-and-a-half generation Vietnamese American immigrants, and tales of living in between spaces have always held my attention. The story goes that a little princess from a world under water wants to live on the land. She falls in love, exchanges her tongue for a pair of legs, and finds herself thrust into the unenviable circumstance of navigating a strange space where she literally has no voice. Ultimately finding no place for her in the world for which she had given up everything, she casts herself off the side of a ship into the ocean, drowns, and dissolves into sea foam. Victorian sentiments about Christianity and moralizing stories for children eventually got Andersen to amend the ending. This is more or less the state of Asian American identity politics. We’re always finding ourselves caught between “where we come from” and wherever we yearn to belong.

The buzz around the 2017 Ghost in the Shell film, among many other film and television projects of its ilk in recent memory, has ignited a bevy of thinkpieces about cultural appropriation and the nature of Asian American identity politics. The topic is complicated.

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Ghost in the Shell Trailer is Just as Racist as Everything Else This Week

by Dominic Mah | Originally posted on YOMYOMF

Wow, where to start with this trailer. It OPENS on a person in stylized Japanese esoteric garb to tell us how much we’re in that place Japan where things are weird. Who is this person? Don’t know, don’t care at all.

Then we get a pretty faithful live-action recreation of the original Ghost in the Shell’s elegant opening action sequence, pretty much nailing the point home that the only reason you aren’t aware of this seminal science-fiction already is because it didn’t have Scarlett Johannson in it, and now we fixed that for you.

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Who is Captain America Going To Vote For?

by Vishavjit Singh | Originally posted at Medium.com

Who would the 75 year old quintessential American superhero vote for in the 2016 Presidential election today? For starters, Captain America does not exist. But although he might be fictional his mythology is palpable. Its ethereal connection to us Americans has a physical manifestation.

Trust me. I know. I get to don the uniform of this character armed with my turban and beard. I have traveled from Maine to California to Mississippi to Michigan to the RNC convention in Cleveland engaging fellow Americans from all walks of life.

This uniform has allowed for conversations to start in the midst of fear and ambivalence. It has allowed for common bonds to emerge despite our perceived and real differences

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Making Mulan Right, and the Limits of On-Screen Representation

by Oanh-Nhi Nguyen and Mark Tseng Putterman

When a leaked script revealed that Disney planned to center its live-action Legend of Mulan film around a white merchant who comes to “white knight” the hero of China, the outrage was swift and fierce. After thousands signed 18MillionRising’s petition, Disney quickly responded to assure fans that all major characters would be cast as Chinese. “Don’t worry,” one patronizing headline went so far as to say, everything’s going to be fine. And by and large, the once-raging fire of #MakeMulanRight has cooled to a few glowing embers. Asian America seems to be satisfied to know that Disney won’t turn Mulan into yet another white savior film.

It’s a win, but not exactly the sort of victory you can feel great about. We’ve been through this too many times, haven’t we?

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An Open Letter to the Creators of Disney’s Live Action Mulan

by ConcernedForMulan | Originally posted at Angry Asian Man

[Ed. note: In the 24 hours since this open letter was posted on AAM, Disney has released a statement that their live action adaptation of Mulan will not feature a white love interest. We are still posting the original letter because we can confirm that the spec script discussed below does indeed exist and is still indicative of how Hollywood views Asians.]

A white merchant’s business brings him to the heart of a legendary Asian conflict — he unwittingly helps save the day while winning the heart of the Asian female. Am I describing the plotline of the Netflix series Marco Polo? No. I’m describing the spec script that Disney bought for its live-action feature film, The Legend of Mulan, which is projected for release in 2018.

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TIFF Review: The Birth of a Nation

by Joelle Monique

In watching The Birth of a Nation I was a little destroyed. There’s so much to unpack. Nat Turner is a legendary figure in the Black community — a former slave who removed his own shackles. It’s a story I’ve wanted to see on screen for a long time. The reviews out of Sundance were huge. Then, news of Nate Parker rape charges and acquittal broke. I debated a long time about whether or not to cover the story when I came to TIFF. Eventually, I decided that a film this prominent and this culturally invested couldn’t be ignored. I have mixed feelings about what I saw. I’m going to take it slow.

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